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JAB21 – JAB25 on this page, keep scrolling down.

Johanna Drucker, Simulant Portrait, 1991

"To Figure Out What is Happening: An Interview with Johanna Drucker" by Tate Shaw


Johanna Drucker

Simulant Portrait, 1991


Johanna Drucker

Damaged Spring, 2003


JAB21, Spring 2007, 44 pages, offset printed at Caldwell's in Chicago. The cover and text block were designed by BF with expert advice from Elisabeth Long and Clifton Meador.

The cover was letterpress printed by polymer plates on a Vandercook Universal 1 at the Center for Book and Paper Arts / Columbia College Chicago (CBPA / CCC) by BF and Clifton Meador.


There is a special edition of 50 copies with handmade paper produced by Yukie Kobayashi in the papermaking studio CBPA. The special edition also contains blind embossed end sheets from metal cuts, hand set according to the precepts of typopoeisis, and letterpress printed–all by Daniel Mellis.

JAB21 marks the beginning of the second publishing stage of JAB, with the first stage running from JAB1 to JAB20. The first twenty JABs were printed at various locations including SoHo Services, NYC; Center for Editions at SUNY Purchase; Nexus Press in Atlanta; and the Borowsky Center for Publication Arts at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. There was an almost four year hiatus between JAB20 and JAB21 as JAB remained simmering under the surface until finding a home at the CBPA.

Table of Contents

• Note from the Editor

– Brad Freeman

• To Figure Out What is Happening:

An Interview with Johanna Drucker

– Tate Shaw

• Editioning One-of-a-kind Multiples: Notes Toward Understanding Anselm Kiefer's Books

– Elisabeth Long

• Artists' Books:

Between Viewing and Reading

– Ward Tietz

• Interview with Marshall Weber

– Tony White

• The Small Pond

– Clifton Meador

• New Books

– reviews by Clifton Meador

• • • • • • •

from "To Figure Out What Is Happening: An Interview with Johanna Drucker" by Tate Shaw:

JD: Working processes between creative and critical projects differ mainly in one respect: attention to graphical and material form of presentation. I almost always SEE the book in my mind as it comes together when it is an artist’s book—and of course I have to make materials dummies and hold/feel the scale, color, texture, etc., before I know if it will work. The laying out of a work into a full-scale dummy makes it come together in a closed, finite sense, that’s true. Though I have to say that one thing I admired and envied in watching Brad [Freeman] work on MuzeLink was that he let it develop as he went along. I would like to emulate that in the next book I undertake, in part because the porousness of the project allows for much more self-reflection, internal commentary.
   Critical projects almost always start with an argument, a desire to persuade, or define a position, point of view, or else they start with outright enthusiasm—as is the case with most of the things I do reviews of or write about critically. So much wonderful stuff exists and offering a reading of these works is a way to offer a way to engage with them.

• • • • • • •

from "Artists' Books: Between Viewing and Reading" by Ward Tietz:

The title, “Artists’ Books: Between Viewing and Reading” suggests a stance and a destination that hopefully will offer some observations and some solutions to a problem that surrounds the interpretation and appreciation of many artists’ books.  What do artists’ books require of us as readers and viewers in instances where words and images conflict? I’m going to start with two observations: that many artists’ books are difficult to read, and, that they are usually not read all the way through and, so, leave us with a certain deficit in understanding of what we might call “the book as a whole.” Further, many artists’ books don’t engage us as readers very well: they don’t provide us with hospitable textual spaces that we readily recognize and can inhabit as readers, especially when reading must contend simultaneously with viewing.

     Ironically, this difficulty or problem of reading artists’ books is also their main virtue, since such a difficultly is linked directly to their ability to contest the institutional norms of production and reception that we have inherited from literature and the visual arts. Such contestation is crucial, because it allows artists’ books and other liminal or hybrid forms to demonstrate a condition where aesthetic value is less categorically determined, and instead subject to synthesis and reevaluation carried out by the reader/viewer. This is important for artists’ books, but also for the larger culture, especially in this age of convergent technologies and media that demonstrate similar effects.

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Brad Freeman

JAB21 cover


Daniel Mellis

close-up of the famous embossed end sheet


Clifton Meador                                        BF                                           Daniel Mellis

printing and quality assurance on the clamshell press – JAB publication announcement

Center for Book and Paper Arts, Columbia College Chicago, 2007


Tom Phillips, A Humument

Thames & Hudson version, 1987

from "Artists' Books: Between Viewing and Reading" by Ward Tietz


JAB22 (Special Chicago Edition), fall, 2007, 40 pages. Produced at Center for Book and Paper Arts / Columbia College Chicago. Text block offset printed on the Heidelberg KORD * at the Center for Editions, College of Art + Design, SUNY Purchase by BF. Special thanks to Phil Zimmermann for access to the press and friendship.

* (This Heidelberg K used to belong to the Visual Studies Workshop Press, so I was somewhat familiar with it.)

Elisabeth Long designed and letterpress printed the cover at her studio in Bridgeport, Chicago.

"And so from meat packing to meat grinding, and from meat grinding to sausage making, and from sausage making to JAB making. Thus the covers of JAB22 were born and cranked out on a Vandercook SP20 by the banks of Bubbly Creek."

– Elisabeth Long

From "Notes on the Way to the Glue Factory"

Brad Freeman, editor-in-chief

A confluence of circumstances has given rise to JAB22 becoming a Chicago-themed issue. This is the second JAB from its new home at Columbia College Chicago where in June the Center for Book and Paper Arts hosted the Action/Interaction: Book/Arts Conference (AI). JAB22 presents responses to AI and re-presents the keynote speeches and discussion sessions in both print and audio formats [CD with each copy of JAB22]. At the same time that we were planning these ways to document the conference, Elisabeth Long's concept for the cover was underway (See page 40) and one conversation suddenly led to another, new and surprising images spurred our imaginations, and JAB22 grew to include a collaborative poster of the [Chicago] stock yards in 1890 & now, and an artists' book on the same theme. This hybridized approach to publication arts characterizes JAB's ongoing project as a creative, documentary, & analytical combination.

. . . Peter Koch organized the Codex International Book Fair, billed portentously as The Fate of the Art: The Hand Printed Book in the 21st Century. . . . Koch is ambitiously trying to create a worldwide marketplace for ideas, books, and knowledge. He defined knowledge as what we do with our hands as opposed to ideas that are more theory oriented. A constant mantra by Koch and most of the speakers [for the symposium aspect of the Codex Book Fair] emphasized the notion of the handmade aspect of book arts and artists' books. This idea of the handmade was taken for granted at Codex and remains unexamined, indeed hidden with the field and I basically think of it as a marketing ploy. There was so much of this recurring praise for the handmade during the symposium that in frustration I finally scribbled on a scrap of paper "What about the BRAINMADE book!?" and passed it on to Brandon Cooper Black [aka Mary Jo Pauly] sitting next to me. [See JAB24 for Daniel Mellis's response to this with his Handmade-o-Meter.] Koch's remarks ended with a plea for the attendees to open their wallets and the statement that the marketplace will te the measure of success of Codex. I must say that the collectors were there and buying and the marketing goal relentlessly stated by Koch was met at least by some.

Table of Contents

Action/Interaction: Book/Arts Conference

Chicago, June 2007

• Conference Overview & Responses

– Elisabeth Long

– Matthew Brown

– Richard Minsky

– Barbara Maloutas

• Discussion Session Summaries

– Mary Tasillo

– Judith Hoffberg

– Andew Eason

– Jen Blair

– Jonathan Lill

– Phoebe Esmon & Amanda D'Amico

– Katie Murken, Lindsey Mears, Katie Baldwin

• Keynote Addresses

– Audrey Niffenegger

– Marshall Weber

• Artists' Books Online

– Johanna Drucker

• JAB22 Inserts

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Elisabeth Long

JAB22 cover

JAB Sausage.png

Elisabeth Long printing JAB22 cover at her studio next to Bubbly Creek, Chicago, 2007, photo–BF


Left to right

Doro Boehme, Steve Woodall (back to camera), Clifton Meador, Elisabeth Long

Action/Interaction Conference, Center for Book and Paper Arts, June, 2007


Judith Hoffberg

publisher of Umbrella


Scott McCarney and Karen Wirth

Erin Vigneau in background


second row left to right

Judith Hoffberg, Vicky & Bill Stewart (Vamp & Tramp)


Left to right

Kyle Schlesinger, Drew Mattot, Brandon Graham, Daniel Mellis


Tate Shaw

Preacher's Bisquits, etc.


Richard Minsky, Marshall Weber


Codex Book Fair, Berkeley, 2007

Jen Thomas, April Sheridan, Eileen Madden

left to right


Johanna Drucker, Brad Freeman

conference2JD talk.png

Johanna Drucker


Matthew Brown

(Clif Meador and Steve Woodall backs to camera)

Putin_JAB Repo Man.png

Mary Jo Pauly

Pyramid Atlantic Book Fair, Silver Spring, 2006

He will bomb your cities

and kill your people,

and is no longer associated with JAB


JAB23, spring 2008, 48 pages, produced at the Center for Book and Paper Arts / Columbia College Chicago and offset printed in two colors at Caldwell Letter Service in Chicago.

JAB23 was designed by Ken Gerleve, a graduate student in the Interdisciplinary Book and Paper MFA program at Columbia College Chicago. Prompted by the work of Kate T. Steinitz (see essay by Stefan Soltek and Martina Weiß) Gerleve researched Russian and Bauhaus designers (1920s-1930s) for inspiration.

Table of Contents

• JAB23 Overview

– Brad Freeman

Train Station for Billy–The Children's Book Manuscript by Kate T. Steinitz

– Stefan Soltek and Martina Weiß

• Letterpress in the Mimeo Revolution

– Kyle Schlesinger

• In Memory: An Examination of Tatana Kellner's Paired Artists' Books, Fifty Years of Silence

– Norah Hardin Lind

• Reading Outside the Lines: Paratextual Analysis and Artists' Books

– Jae Rossman

• Tasty Bites: Andrea Dezsö

– Interview by Ken Gerleve

God Bless This Circuitry

Andrew Sallee (music and recording)

Tate Shaw (book)

Preacher's Biscuit Books, 2007

– review by Karol Shewmaker

• Some Forms of Availability:

Critical Passages on the Book and Publication

Simon Cutts

Granary Books

– review by Brad Freeman

Deciphering Human Chromosome 16

Sarah Jacobs


– review by Elisabeth Long

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Ken Gerleve

JAB23 front cover

back cover_JAB23_5533.png

Ken Gerleve

JAB23 back cover


Train Station for Billy–The Children's Book Manuscript by Kate T. Steinitz

– Stefan Soltek and Martina Weiß


In Memory:

An Examination of Tatana Kellner's Paired Artists' Books, Fifty Years of Silence

essay by Norah Hardin Lind

Johanna_Lily Brik.png

inside front cover and TOC JAB23

From A. Rodchenko–photo/advertisement–Lily Brik, model

design–Ken Gerleve, concept & photo–BF, model–JD

Lily Brik_poster_Rodchenko copy.png

Lily Brik

Lily Brik, Mom, Sis

“Russian Books (Please) in all branches of knowledge”

photography & design by Alexander Rodchenko, 1924
Lily Brik—model


Kyle Mimeo_5532.png

Letterpress in the Mimeo Revolution

Kyle Schlesinger


Reading Outside the Lines: Paratextual Analysis and Artists' Books

Jae Rossman

verso image by Drew Mattot


JAB24: Special Issue on the Intersections of Experimental Literature & Artists' Books, edited by Craig Dworkin and Kyle Schlesinger.

Fall 2008, 48 pages, offset printed on the Heidelberg GTO by BF at the Center for Book and Paper Arts, Columbia College Chicago.

From the Introduction by Craig Dworkin and Kyle Schlesinger–

This special issue of the Journal of Artists' Books focuses on a series of fundamental relationships–form and content; structure and material; art and literature; the visual and the verbal; seeing and reading–and the astonishing occasions when those relationships intersect, blur, reverse, cancel, or come under erasure to generate a third element. One name for that dialectical third element has been the "artist's book." At other times, particularly in the 1960s and 70s, "experimental literature" has been pressed into service to do similar duty (one might also think of other more local terms, including the ungainly compounds "intermedia," "metatextual," and "self reflexive"). As the rhetorical histories of the labels "artist's book" and "experimental literature" have developed and defined–evolving into genres of their own along different branches with shared ancestors–they seem now to have separated to the point where one can think of them as distinct categories, with all the potential for interaction and competition, including healthy sibling rivalries and patterns of productive interference.

Table of Contents

• Editor's Note

– Brad Freeman

• JAB24: Special Issue on the Intersections of Experimental Literature and Artists' Books

– Edited by Craig Dworkin and Kyle Shlesinger

• Of "Men and Mutations" the Art of Reproduction in Flatland

– Susan Vanderborg

• Highway 24 Revisited: Reeling Between The Road and Artists' Books From Toledo to Kansas City

– Chris Burnett and Tate Shaw

• Off the Road

– Alastair Johnston

• Chapbook Presses

A Note on Atticus/Finch

– David Pavelich

Poet as Maker

– Elisabeth Long

• Handmade-o-Meter

– Daniel Mellis

• • • • •

from "Of 'Men and Mutations' The Art of Reproduction in Flatland"

by Susan Vanderborg

As reviewers of VAS: An Opera in Flatland have amply noted, this collaborative novel by author Steve Tomasula and graphic artist Stephen Farrell is all about types of reproduction, whether in the lavish reproduction of found texts, the diverse typographic formats for its segments, the reworking of Edwin A. Abbott’s geometric novel Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (1884), or the plot question of sexual reproduction, since the protagonist is thinking about a vasectomy. But what, specifically, is the nature of that relation between physical and textual reproduction here? Is the bulk of the book—all 370 pages of poetically arranged narration, medical excerpts, and graphics—a compensation for the surgical cut the hero fears, or the loss of natural procreativity that would horrify his mother-in-law? Or is its artistry a complicit reflection of the modifications we have sought in both the past and the present of our own bodies? Ultimately, this visual novel acknowledges that our physiology is always overwritten by cultural histories, but it argues that, to our chagrin and sometimes our benefit, we rarely copy those texts perfectly or even redact the same fragments. VAS focuses on the ambiguities, omissions, and fallacies in our conflicting definitions of human identity, records that not only expose their sources’ biases but can occasionally offer more chances for a “revisionist history” of bodies and communities than their authors had ever intended. VAS’s notes on these imperfect texts invite us to reexamine the limits of our own revisionary agency as interpreters and transmitters of evolutionary records.

• • • • •

Editor's Note, Brad Freeman

The genesis for the content of JAB24 grew directly out of a conversation at the Center for Book and Paper Arts in the spring of 2007 among Brandon Graham, Clif Meador, and myself about The Slightly Irregular Fire Engine or the Hithering Thithering Djin by Don Barthelme. In fact, I had just walked into Clif's office where he and Brandon were talking and I exclaimed that this intersection between literature and artists' books might be a worthy subject for JAB to explore and then rushed off immediately to call Johanna Drucker to ask her if she could edit the issue. She demurred due to previous engagements, but suggested Craig Dworkin and Kyle Shlesinger who enthusiastically agreed to the assignment.

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Tate Shaw and Brad Freeman

JAB24 cover

Steve Tomasula, with art and design by Stephen Farrell

VAS: An Opera in Flatland: A Novel

(first published by Station Hill Press, Barrytown, 2002)

from Susan Vanderborg's essay

Of "Men and Mutations" the Art of Reproduction in Flatland


Steve Tomasula, with art and design by Stephen Farrell

VAS: An Opera in Flatland: A Novel

KUNOICHI.for website.png

JAB kunoichi will be pleased when you subscribe.

model–Hikaru photo–BF


Daniel Mellis

Handmade-o-Meter, 2008


Daniel Mellis

Handmade-o-Meter, 2008


JAB25, spring, 2009, 48 pages, offset printed on the Heidelberg GTO by BF at the Center for Book and Paper Arts, Columbia College Chicago.

JAB25 – Special Issue: Offset Printing

guest editor–Tony White

JAB25 is dedicated to the memory of Judith Hoffberg (1934-2009) and her tireless devotion to art and books.


Table of Contents

• From the Editor

– Brad Freeman

• Guest Editor's Introduction

– Tony White

• About the Cover Art

– Jan Voss

• The Borowsky Center

– Amanda D'Amico

• I ♥ DIY CMYK (an homage)

– Pattie Belle Hastings

• Afterword

– Clifton Meador

• Surrender

– Cynthia Marsh

• Book Reviews

Doorway to Portuguese by Eugene Feldman & Aloísio Magalhães

– review by Clifton Meador

Play Nice: Sally Alatalo's Offset Do Da

– review by Brandon Graham

• Pyramid Atlantic Critic's Award

– Elisabeth Long

• • • • •

Jan Voss – About the Cover Art

It doesn’t happen often that only one hand handles one magazine. Mostly many hands handle one magazine.


It is tempting to play this through: One hand handles one magazine, two hands handle one magazine at a time. Till in the course of time many hands handle any magazine.


Though this is of course rather obvious, only the becoming aware of it could trigger off the illustration on the outer and inner cover of this issue of JAB. Tony White had invited me to make transparencies which Brad Freeman would print on the new offset press at Columbia College Center for Book and Paper Arts. By seizing the occasion of the Boekie Woekie back room book launch of the Hell Passport series of Perro Verlag on November 1, 2008, I had a small crowd which I asked to bath hands in a puddle of brown acrylic paint. They who did this were Jo Cook and Wesley Mulvin of Perro Verlag near Vancouver, Faith Pleasanton, Darin Murphy and Tony White, librarians from the U.S. visiting Holland, Remko Scha, Lee Eun Young, Máni Marteinn Sigfússon, Henk Wijnen and Sæmundur Thor Helgason, Boekie Woekie aficionados of various degrees, Henriëtte van Egten, Rúna Thorkelsdóttir and me of Boekie Woekie and a young man fetched from the street, Alexander Afanasew, a tourist from Jekaterinburg in Russia. We all handled two transparent plastic sheets attached to each other. The sheets were of the size of an open copy of JAB. The traces the paint on our hands left on those sheets is what Brad Freeman will be free to print in colours to his liking.


Afterwards everyone washed their hands and behaved normally again. One wouldn’t believe that, would one, seeing a picture like this:

litho diag color.png

Jan Voss

JAB25 cover


Patty Smith & Lori Spencer & the Heidelberg KORZ

Borowsky Center for Publication Arts,

University of the Arts, Philadelphia, 2008

1_front coverPZ.png

Phil Zimmermann

Options for Color Separation, 1980

from "I ♥ DIY CMYK (an homage)"

Pattie Belle Hastings

Jan_mylar finger painting.png

Jan Voss

Amsterdam, Nov. 16, 2008


Scott Hyde

three color in-camera separations

Options for Color Separation, Philip Zimmermann,1980

Willyum Rowe

Mechanical separation using tint screens and rubylith

Options for Color Separation, Philip Zimmermann, 1980


Eugene Feldman & Aloísio Magalhães

Doorway to Portuguese, Falcon Press, Philadelphia, 1957

review by Clifton Meador

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